Author: Mary Burns
Illustrations: Peggy Grinvalsky
Softcover, 6 x 9 inches, 144 pages, with illustrations
Manitowish River Press, 2003
"The soul of every tree is alive in its dark center," Kelly's grandmother had often said. But neither Kelly nor her grandparents imagined that the trees really were alive, at least not until Kelly's twelfth summer when the tree-spirit that lives in Kelly's bedroom speaks to her. The white pine trees are in danger, and they believe that Kelly can save them. A century ago, her great-grandfather had been one of the loggers who had helped clearcut the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Yet, he had made a promise to the ancient trees that his great-grandaughter would come back to restore their spirit when the time was right. That time has come.
Thus begins Kelly's travels across the upper Midwest and back into time, where she must bring back four essential elements of life that were lost. Her journeys take her into the ice age, to an ancient Ojibwe village along Lake Superior, to a meeting in a blizzard with a snowy owl, and finally to a sharing of spirit and mind with numerous animals and plants that live in the lakes, rivers, and forests of the Northwoods. All along the way, Kelly and her grandfather discover much that they never knew about their own past, and what they can do to restore forests in their own time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heartwood is Mary Burns' first young adult novel. She is a contributing author to A Place to Which We Belong: Wisconsin Authors on Wisconsin Landscapes (1999). Ms. Burns also works as a professional fiber artist in Wisconsin's Northwoods.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Peggy Grinvalsky has worked as a studio artist for 30 years. Her work is in private collections throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Heartwood does much more than inform students of the extent of our threatened environment--Burns takes the high road and helps us all to see and nurture a new vision for our relationship with the planet, our communities, and our families . . . Burns has created a new and powerful myth.
--Kathleen Adee, Wisconsin 2001 Environmental Educator of the Year
This slim volume is perfect for inter-generational sharing as a read-aloud. Young readers will be drawn into the fantasy and left wanting to know more about the history and geography of the Great Lakes area.
--Kris Adams Wendt, Rhinelander District Library Director
Heartwood calls upon us to bring our actions and our impacts into line with community values and further helps us to develop our sense of appreciation and awe for the natural world.
--Clayton Russell, Northland College Assistant Professor of Environmental Education
Heartwood is an enthralling composition . . . the work of a completely assembled, mature yet youthful imagination and sense of language. The depth beyond its surface extends as far as the reader-viewer-listener wishes to go.
--Clifford Wood, retired professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh